When it’s hot, sometimes baking is the last thing you want to do, but make an exception for these moist and delicious cherry chocolate chip muffins. I made them to use up an abundance of very ripe Bing and Van cherries; going forward, I’ll rely on my abundant supply of frozen cherries to make them again out of season. Cherries are a great fruit to bake with; they hold their color and shape, for the most part, and complement a variety of flavors commonly associated with baked goods. Dark red, juicy cherries stand up to the dark chocolate chips in these muffins in a way that some other, more delicate summer fruits may not. Almond is another flavor that is perfectly suited to cherries, though you can substitute vanilla extract with equally good results. So, on your next rainy day, or late at night when the house has cooled, or whenever you feel ready for a quick and tasty baked treat, make a batch of these and enjoy.
Cherry Chocolate Chip Muffins (makes 12 standard or 6 oversized)
- 1 1/2 c. flour
- 1 c. sugar
- 3/4 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3/4 c. whole milk
- 1/2 c. canola or grapeseed oil
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp. almond extract (or replace with equal amount of vanilla)
- 1 c. pitted and quartered sweet red cherries (Bing, Van, etc.)
- 1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the milk, oil, egg and almond or vanilla extract. Use a fork to gently break up the egg yolk, then a wooden spoon or spatula to fold the batter together, mixing just until the dry ingredients are all wet. Carefully fold in the cherries and chocolate chips, being careful not to overmix. Over-mixing will produce tough muffins, and in this case, pink muffins, and you don’t necessarily want that; it’s okay for the batter to be lumpy. Carefully scoop the batter into each muffin cup; you want them to be at least 3/4 full. Bake for 25-35 mins., until a skewer into the center of the largest muffin comes out clean. Cool on a baking rack for 10-15 mins. and serve.
Leftover muffins should keep for two or three days. Fully-cooled muffins can be frozen in ziploc freezer bags or a tightly-covered container for about three months.